Earlier this week, Oprah Winfrey was forced to lay off 30 staffers from OWN, her eponymous television network, due to poor ratings. The OWN restructuring follows the cancellation of Rosie O'Donnell's talk show, which aired for just five months.
"The economics of a startup cable network just don't work with the cost structure that was in place," said Winfrey in a statement. "As CEO, I have a responsibility to chart the course for long-term success for the network."
Discovery Communications, which co-owns the network with Winfrey, disclosed the layoffs in a regulatory filing. “Early results of OWN’s operations have been below its initial business plan,” the network said. Reuters reports that despite committing $189 million to OWN, Discovery has spent or loaned $312 million to keep the nascent network afloat.
A source connected to OWN revealed to TMZ that two high-level executives — the head of the creative services department and the senior vice president of production — were among the 30 laid-off staffers. “They did the firings respectfully,” the source said. “[They] brought everyone into an office individually and explained the situation face to face.”
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(Photo credit: Oprah Winfrey Network Facebook)